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stands; of a taste that appreciates; of emotions that sympathize; of a moral bias to the right; and, most especially, of an inborn imitative faculty that duplicates all it sees and sees what does not exist: so must visible representation arise, in one form or another, to meet and satisfy these various tendencies of the soul. It may take the form of Miracle Play or Morality; of Interlude or Drama Proper; of Tragedy or Comedy; of the abstract or the concrete; of prose or poetry; of oral speech or pantomime; in one way or another it will exhibit itself and be modified in its expression by the age and nation in which it appears. Substantially the same wherever seen, it is as flexible as human nature itself and fitly reflects in due succession the ever-changing manners of men. It is thus that we find this species of literature among all European peoples. Perhaps the very earliest drama founded on biblical history is that of the Exodus, written by Ezekiel, the Jew, and this in turn was based upon classic models. Dramatic art early appeared in the old pagan nations, as in Greece, where it gradually developed from the exhibitions of the traveling Rhapsodists until Sophocles, Euripides, and Eschylus perfected it. It had a place early in Rome for the pleasure of
kings and courts, while Seneca, Plautus, Terence, and others carried it to high degrees of excellence. In Italy and all the romance countries of Southern Europe, it has had a noteworthy history, especially in those forms of pantomime in which SouthEuropeans excel. It began in Germany in the ballads of the Minnesänger, and came to its fullest. expression in the second classical period, in the dramas of Goethe, Lessing, and Schiller. Nor is it to be forgotten that there is very much that is dramatic existing in productions which in themselves are not dramas. Such are "The Canterbury Tales" of Chaucer and "The Pilgrim's Progress" of Bunyan. Much of the prose of Swift and the poetry of Samuel Butler is of this order, while in prose fiction throughout, this special cast is notable. Moreover, there are dramatic elements at the basis of society and of personal character which have never been and can never be visibly set forth upon the boards. The tragic and the comic lie below all external manifestation and are but partially embodied in the most highly developed characterization.
This natural origin of the drama therefore being conceded, the question of prime importance is, how to give the dramatic principle the best out
ward expression in deference to literary taste and ethical law. In the light of the universal demand for such a form of literature and its consequent supply, it is one of the clearest teachings of history that the stage has never for any length of time assumed the highest forms possible to it either on intellectual or moral lines. We are well aware of the character of the early classical drama and its description by ecclesiastics as the very agent of Satan to mislead and defile the popular conscience. Tertullian, Gregory, Cyprian, and Chrysostom, in the first centuries of the Christian era, pronounced it accursed and deserving of church censure, and this at the very time when they acknowledged its necessity by becoming themselves the composers of dramas of a Christian character. This higher order, however, was soon outruled by a gradual process of degeneracy, and the clergy in turn became justly exposed to public scandal. In Spain, Italy, and France, as we learn from Schlegel, the history was much the same; and yet we are surprised to hear so rigid a schoolman as Thomas Aquinas declare that such amusements are necessary to human happiness, as he lends his influence to the cultivation of what he calls the histrionic art. Although the formative
periods of our drama possessed in their biblical character a more decided moral tendency, the British Isles are no exception in this dramatic history. The very name, Moralities, was distinctive of ethical content and aim, and, yet, through the Interlude various forms of looseness. entered to impair the integrity of the drama. This deterioration, however, was in turn retarded by the work respectively of Sackville and Udall, as they wrote what they wrote on behalf of scholarship and sound morals. In the Golden Age of our literature, the scholarly character of the English drama may be said to have been fully sustained, in that nearly all the dramatists of note were university men, presenting on the stage their own productions. By this union of author and actor in one personality, great mental and literary advantages were gained. Thus it is in the French drama, that while the tragedies of Corneille and Racine are simply referred to as specimens of high classical style, the comedies of Molière, the actor and author, may be witnessed still in the capital of France. There is an indefinable influence that is thus expressed, and it was specially prominent in the drama of Elizabeth. Strange to say, however, this principle which wrought such
masterly effects on the intellectual side seems to have been the very principle which corrupted dramatic morals. By repeated appearance on the stage, authors were exposed to the subtle temptations of the stage, and yielding too often, as many of them did, reproduced in their subsequent authorship the worst phases of London life. While thus securing increased oratorical and stage effect, they also came under the power of evils to which they had hitherto been strangers, and, as usual, the balance was in favor of the impure and debasing. Hence the mental giants and the moral imbeciles of that brilliant histrionic age, as the public sentiment of the time classed the acting playwrights among the "rogues and vagabonds of the country. The gifted Marlowe was no more notorious for his wit and liberal culture and high dramatic art than for his blatant infidelity and disreputable death. We are aware of the unseemly condition of things in the days of the Commonwealth and the Restoration, when ill-advised fanaticism, at the one extreme, opposed all forms of dramatic art, and unbridled license, at the other, opened the way to the wildest debauchery. Otway and Southerne, Lee and Wycherly, reduced the English stage to the lowest level, while the bril